Tombstone Trance Volume 1
TBR: 3rd May
Opening the Tombstone Trance series for Stabudown Recordings comes a swathe of material from their plastic arts hub. Mixed to flow perpetually, sectioned into easy to appreciate chapters, and wrapped in a day-glow cover, this rundown of ruckus productions looks almost as good as it sounds. But what does it taste like? There's only one way to find out. Each of these offerings is brand new and unreleased, making this a sampler that goes all out to reel in the fantastic plastic people. Are they pointing at you?
It begins on a warbling oscillation that revs up the stereo with a repeating phrase that garbles down into mayhem. This is just the opener, and allows for the first track to sweep in on wings of gold. Fanciful synths play a broken melody strapped with subtle harmonies. These shift gear into a more digital range, their manicured bleeps and blips creating the same sound although somewhere else in the room with different acoustics. The melody evolves to become jagged and raunchy, while rhythmic loops mash the effects into a homogeneous substance. Once more, the beats break the music down into smaller parts. These jittering fractions of music roll into each other with 8-bit waveform acting as glue before beginning to shine with more sunny synthesiser tones. Sponge Effect by Piezo does indeed make use of squashy undercurrents of sonic squelch.
Next up is Scrappy Industrious F U by C.L.A.W.S. It starts with rolling notes that climb abstract boulders while the hillside sweeps away below in regularly paced kick drum sections. New percussion adds a thundering energy to the already beat rich composition. Bass throbs keep the movement in the air while grounding thuds pin it all down again. A subtle melody catches the wind and begins to fly in the flurry of drums and bass. Fills in the percussion add yet more layers of story to the driving force behind this track. Then subtle horns in distant avenues blare into the rain thick sky before yet more drums give a crunchy crumble to what is a high energy dancer.
Even more beats are unravelled with hyper snares that stutter in spitting balls of fire. At the heart of these furious flurries are deep and gut pounding bass drums that bring a wooden depth to the whole piece. Digital bass wobbles along in motorway sections of high speed freight while the high energy smaller beats fly past in neatly managed quanta. Goshun by TML is a hard dancing push forward, expertly built up from the more tranquil atmosphere of the first number via the slightly more up-key second. Industrial mechanics whir and clunk while sparks of percussion spin off into dark and gloomy spaces. These are where the breathing sounds of heavy machinery come to life.
Below Andromeda by Koehler starts with silence. This is prized open by a claw of housey drums which smoothly flatten out the texture. New pressures are found in a snappy drum that throws an oddly timed bar into the mix, rewriting the rules of the dance as it goes. Whirling winds from far off forests catch the breeze and are carried to our field, where the drumming mixes with nature, some magical effect takes place. Luminous blips of light form in the space between us and gently float like balloons into the nightness above. Like dancing faeries in bonfire up-drafts, the gentle drifts of sound climb as the currents of music warm their ethereal bodies.
Dirty reverberating bass mixes with an alarming melodic climb into abstract realms for the next one. Electro drums stab in rapidly firing projections of sound while the siren like tones swivel on their axes. A human voice crunches down with a maniac holler before the bass is let loose to snake its way through the loops of drum. Squeaky rhythms line the top like blades of wet grass plucked and stretched across mouse holes. More voices begin to express negative words while the music pushes onwards. The gloom and darkly nuance raises an energy within that stops caring. Kerridge with Death Is Upon Us brings us this live version.
Long Bastard brings us Send for the next track. A swelling sub-bass tone drifts in on heavy wheels before a fast paced in your face industrial snare and hat makes a punchy journey towards us. Slow vocals speak in poetic phraseology in spurts over the top, the distortion and reverb on the voice gives an empty room feel to the whole. Digital tones leap from high places into the abyss in gentle solitude while the musing continues. Formations of images around life and love briskly push their way to the front to take a snap-shot before reclining for others to break their silence.
A gentle fusion of static and tone comes next. It builds like a gradual lock on a canal of barges, each laden with rhythmic cargo. Head moving bass drops down while drums start to smash in the air. New elements of percussion break forward, pushing waves of slurry up and out as they go. The foundry of sonics brings with it all manner of related happenings. The machinery creeps on, as daylight breaks the colourful long-ships gracefully chunter into horizons of musical oblivion. Occasionally, a stand out vessel enters the scene and with flower pots and flags, causes the rest to raise their heads and their game. Bad Tracking by Arnos Veil is an industrial and grimy pit of sonics that just keep dancing.
Prostitutes is next with Destiny Rush. Subtle drumming starts it off with a sleek tone like an engaged telephone in the distance. More melody and rhythm builds in, gentle and sensitive, shakers and metallic rattles sculpt a rolling landscape of sound. Hand claps and snare drum finally make an entrance, with squelchy bass that blobs into existence and out again, a strange vocal sample rhythmically adds an alien phonic. Keyboard riffs jiggle on small scales with quiet confidence as the slow and heady rhythm keeps everything grounded.
Digital rain and muddy footsteps build up from the quiet left behind. The echo in the mix is barely noticeable but it gives an open space feeling to the delivery. Drums and metal percussives add sprinkles of regulation while the organic and gentle lawns of controlled chaos span out. Wooden taps and dustbin lids add to the well adjusted beat, wobbly semi-melodies try to find a neat fit in the gardener's trousers before they realise they meant the pub. Now all cosily sitting around the fire with a wooden table for company, the mix unveils a comfortable and slidey synth and house ambience. New Happy Fortune by East Side Ancients takes us away from the mayhem of before.
We're reminded of the Grey People with Morning Etiquette for the new number. Quiet and distant mechanials and trains run gently along a slowly approaching path. The rhythmic clatter of carriages and gears reveals a ghostly human scene in which we know there must be souls behind the windows, each thinking and feeling in their own way. Do they know we are here, watching them hurtle past from our shaded window? Another track bursts into life, this time it's much closer and we can see the lights inside illuminating the vague aspects of faces, each one slightly different. They're all going to the same place.
A whining drone dashed with starlight streaks across the silent night sky to reveal what comes after. Its tranquillity and sombre entrance is studded with a heartbeat like drum pattern which is neatly packaged in the back of the cupboard. New amplitudes are rolled into the pastry and it gives the stellar elements a new glare which appears to be due to us drawing closer. They swoop around our head in bright and dancing twinkles as we spiral through cosmic seas of sound texture. Organic Dial with Absolute Other is a soft and gentle push through a weightless sea of lamps.
Glitter Flux by Powell takes over with android like beeps and chatter. Motions made of pullies and gears on armatures and wheels bring about a slow position that allows more music to hang from the branches. Sonic jingles and a vocal song are thrown over like randomly falling sheets which cast shadows on the plain and well lit back wall. As the machines struggle to keep pace with this slow breathing number, their parts begin to protest with cries for sustaining oil. Now running on the rims, some of the units merely are for show leaving empty gaps in the projection of intent.
This coils up and makes way for the next track. Heavenly tones from a crystalline synthesiser ramble on in a dreamy passage of time. The melody evolves and brings on harmonies that help to unify particular phrases. As the musical box like journey of sound changes and drops down into a deep trance-like sleep, new sounds come forward to project yet another image. No Peep Show Here by Vanity Productions splices many sonic experiments and attempted directions together in random happiness that seem to merge into one daydream inspired joust through fleet-footed feelings. It then opens out into a tranquil meadow of glistening colour and warm gentle winds. As the scene envelopes us, it's easy to forget about everything else.
Ending on Death By Misadventure by The Rancor Index, a shimmering digital light emerges from the dreamy left-behinds. This is strapped to a kick drum and snare, both of these have been thrown into a digital echo effect that give rise to spangled throws of percussion. Slow and eerie, the track builds up piece by piece into a wave of synthetic sounds and rhythm. It's a neat way to end the record, with party elements that drag us into high gear and long droning sections of rhythmic and non-rhythmic composition that break the rules while sounding good anyway.
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